Cut Grass

When I was a teenager,
my dad would want me to cut the grass.
I did, and most of the time I would bag the cuttings.
Sometimes, if the grass was short enough
I wouldn’t need the bag.
When I would finish,
people from the neighborhood would stop by
and compliment me on how the yard looked.

Then my dad would come home.
He complained that it wasn’t cut right.
That I should have bagged the grass better.
He would complain about something
that was done different
than his liking.
I resented him for years.
He was never home,
and was a workaholic.
He enjoyed working
and then coming home
just to complain
and belittle.
It ended up being his greatest lesson.
He taught me that the world is cruel.
You could feel as though you did a great job,
but a boss
may not feel the same.

Now that I am older
I realized he was right.
The world is cruel.
I have given everything
in my jobs,
my love life,
and my writing.
All end up in rejections.
Some were written,
and some were left in a voicemail,
but many were in person.

After so many,
the hurt went away
and persistence took over.
I may write something
and it will be rejected.
A girlfriend will breakup with me
saying there has to be someone better.
The job,
where I went above and beyond
only to watch others get praise.

I know now
that I didn’t need that kind of lesson
when I was a teenager.
I needed a father.
Someone to believe in me.
It is something I never had,
which made me doubt myself,
even now.
It was in the cut grass.

©Copyright 2014 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved

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The River Rats

river2
You see them
every day.
They stand in line
at the local store.
They also appear
while you are driving.
Once the sun goes down
people say they go home,
but we know their souls
gather at the river.

There is an angel
that has been sitting
at the bridge
looking over the river.
He has been there
for years.
He is starting
to turn black
and his feathers
are starting to
blow away in the wind.
He is trying to find a soul
worthy of taking back to
his master,
but he will not find one here
at the river.

The river rats
show their faces to you
during the day.
They are the ones
in line at the store
complaining of a lighter
being 99 cents
while you look at the display
and see that the sign clearly
states 1.05.
They are the ones
who flip you off while driving.
They cut you off and blame
you for their terrible driving.
They are the ones who argue
politics,
but never have they voted once
for anybody.
They laugh at those
who are less fortunate
and scoff at those that
are different.
They start fights
for no reason,
and verbally assault
those that are kind.

There are those who believe
that when the sun goes down
that the rats gather at the river.
Their bodies stay at home to rest
while their souls get together at the river
and talk amongst themselves
about what chaos they will start
tomorrow.

The angel sits there
and listens.
He waits to hear of
a good soul,
but can’t.
There are none
down by the river.

It will be a very long time
for the angel
to meet with his master again.

There will never be a
good soul
amongst the rats.

©Copyright 2011 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved

The Winner

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I was watching
TV today and noticed
a beauty queen on the news.
She won the competition
and there were forty nine losers.
The winner gets called
and she talks about her new book.
The book talks about success.
The girl says that she has been
competing for well over ten years
and that her positive attitude helped her win.

What I want to see
are the forty nine losers
that spent the last ten years competing
and lost.
I want to hear how they deal with the
rejection.
Do they slip into drugs or give up on life?
Nobody in America wants to hear about
the loser.
America has always loved the winner
and what they have to say,
even if that winner isn’t articulate in the way
they speak.
It’s too bad that nobody teaches the loser
how to overcome failure.

It’s not taught
by our churches, schools or families.
Nobody wants to think about failing,
so they don’t talk about it.
We need the voice
for the failing grades
the failing marriages
and for the failing
of ourselves.

©Copyright 2010 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved

Backyard

chf-cartoon-kids1
He sits in front of the TV and,
listens to the man on the screen.
Police surround the man
who is escorted out
of the house.
He states how he has changed
and that he should be allowed
to live by the school.

The kid’s eyes are fixated
on the man.
He looks into his eyes as reporters
keep asking the questions.
The kid can tell
the man is sincere
in his answers,
and that he isn’t lying.
The kid knows
it’s something else
that turns truth
into horror.
That takes a decent man
and turns them into
a monster.

It scares him
to think that
while reporters
are questioning this man,
there are monsters
out there preying
on kids like him.
The little eight year old
glances at the clock
and knows he has a few
minutes
before dad comes home.

They will eat dinner
and dad will have a few drinks
before the monster
inside him
comes out.
The kid looks at the TV
one last time,
with hope
that the media
and police
will be at his house
sometime
soon.

©Copyright 2011 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved

They Leave Me Memories

medicine-cabinet_59x73.5_we
I see
the old tube of lipstick
in the bathroom,
still in the cabinet.
In the exact same place
she left it
months ago.
I remember how
she put it on
before coming to bed
and me telling her to stop.
That I wouldn’t see it anyway
after she turned out the light.

I see the dental floss
left behind
from the Georgia peach
I took a bite out of,
and the olive oil soap
from the olive skin beauty
from California.

I think of the nights
with each of them.
The way the shadow
of a body would
hit the wall
when they turned out
the light.
The feel of their skin,
their curves,
and how they would
lay in bed.
Their feet,
their fingers,
and strands of hair.

Most guys
will say their lovers
leave panties, stockings
and bras behind.
I have never had
that problem.
It’s the floss,
the soap,
and the many
other things
left in my bathroom.

Then I think
of my buddy
who always told me.
”You know you have
a girlfriend when she
has a box of pads
under the sink.”

I remember
the girlfriend from Colorado
leaving a box of pads
under the sink,
and am amazed they
are still there.

I thought of all this
while I was pissing tonight.
I missed the toilet a bit
and cleaned up the mess
with one of the pads.
Finally a good use
for them.

I need to buy toilet paper
and paper towels tomorrow.

©Copyright 2008 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved

Broken Heart

Broken-heart
I saw Carl
sitting on his front patio.
I went to him and he asked me
if he ever told me the story
of how he and his wife met.

He talked about
how he was dating someone
and took her to a club.
Then,
Rita walked into the room.
He talked about how
he lost his breath
when she appeared.
He talked about how
he was going
to marry her.
A love at first sight
kind of thing.
His girlfriend saw the look
he gave Rita
and dumped him right there.

He pursued Rita and
after a few months of dating
they became married.
Now it is well over fifty years
since they were married.
Rita passed just last week,
and Carl isn’t able to eat
or sleep.

He told his stories
as I saw his drawn face,
and bags under his eyes.
I could see her death
was killing him.
He talked to me
about Rita
for the next hour.
Funny stories and
how much he loved her.

Carl passed away
a few days later.
He is the only person
I have ever known to die
from a broken heart.

©Copyright 2006 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved

Behind the Doors

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Behind the doors
is an experience
awaiting your arrival.
Your friends said they
would meet you at the bar.
You tell them
you don’t like crowds,
but are willing to toughen up
and make it there tonight.
You get a little closer
and your heart beats faster.
Standing in line is killing you,
and being that it’s cold outside,
doesn’t help.

The people in front of you
move up as you see
the couple ahead of them
open the two doors.
You stand on your tip toes
trying to catch a glimpse
of what it looks like,
behind the doors.
Boisterous laughing
and the chiming of glasses
are all you can hear or see.
The man quickly waves
the couple
in front of you through.
The wait is almost over.
Your heart starts to pound
harder and harder,
knowing that you are next in line.
The man waives you on
and your forehead starts to bead up.

You open the door,
walk in,
and realize how
disgusting this place
looks on the inside.
All the hype you were told
didn’t match what you see.
You want to make the best of it,
but your heart beats faster.
The walls close in,
and the cold sweat beads up more.
Your nerves start to overwhelm,
you start to get dizzy,
but can’t find a place to settle.
Too many people around
and now the roof feels
as though it is slowly collapsing.
Your nerves start to
make you dizzy.

The loud laughing,
the clanging glass
starts to echo in your head.
Your heart pounds
through your chest.
You need air,
and you exit the door
from where you came.
You take two deep breaths
and start to walk away,
Knowing that you are alright now,
and that the attack has left.

©Copyright 2013 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved

When I First Wake Up

waking-up
I wake up
and go to the bathroom.
It was five minutes
before my alarm went off,
so I turned off the alarm
and took a piss.

I finish
and wash my hands.
I look in the mirror.
My hair is everywhere,
my eyes have luggage
under them,
and I am breaking out,
with acne I haven’t seen
since I was a teenager.

It made me think back
to an old girlfriend,
and one
of the most beautiful moments
I can ever remember.

I woke up one morning
and she had beaten me up.
She was looking right at me
from a foot away.

My sleepy eyes slowly opened
to see her blond hair,
and the sunlight
shining through the window,
hitting her hair just right.

I remember her blue eyes
and how they glistened,
when the same sunlight
met them.

The smile,
and oh,
what a smile.
It is one that I will
never forget.
That one moment,
my sleepy eyes swear
her smile
shined brighter than the sun.
It has been almost ten years
since that happened,
and her look that morning is
still burned into my memory.

Now I wake up to this
uni-brow,
acne,
bad hair,
baggy eyes,
nose hair,
and a face that is begging
to be shaved.

I guess
you have to see ugly
once in a while,
in order to appreciate
real beauty.

©Copyright 2013 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved

Conscience of Darkness (Old Short Story)

It’s a day like any other blazing, hot summer day. I have been trying to get the new topsoil around these rosebushes for what seems like hours now. My lavender rosebush and the others have been in desperate need of attention lately and I finally have the time to tend to them. I have dug a mini trench around the lavender rosebush’s base with the hope that the bag of topsoil I bought for it will help it thrive here in the near future.
As I break open the bag of topsoil. A gentleman in a light colored suit is walking from my next door neighbor’s house. My eyes fixate on him for a moment with the hope that he will walk past me, but I am not that fortunate.
“Hello, may I have a word with you sir?”
“Sure, what is it about?”
“Let me introduce myself. I am Detective Jones with Columbus Homicide.”
I am startled that a detective would want to talk to me and it shows.
“Oh, what happened?”
“We were called by your next door neighbor’s family. They stated that they haven’t seen Mr. Robinson in a few weeks. I just came over to see if you knew anything that could shed some light on the situation.”
I take my ball cap off and wipe my brow with the front of my shirt and throw my cap back on.
“Do you care if we go inside? I want to get something to drink.”
“Not at all. By the way, I never did get your name.”
“Charlie, Charlie Wells. Nice meeting you, detective. I would shake your hand, but my hands are filthy with all this dirt.”
He smiles.
I make my way to the front door with Jones right behind me. As I open the front door and walk in, I turn around to make sure Jones is right behind me. I kick off my shoes as he steps inside and shuts the door. I head to the dining table for the hand towel I set aside earlier for the sweaty head I knew I would have today. Jones keeps his distance from me. I anticipate him being right behind me when I turn and ask him.
“Can I get you a soda detective?”
“I’m fine. What can you tell me about Mr. Robinson?”
I go to the fridge and am in eyeshot of Jones the entire time. I feel the heat radiate off my neck from his intense stare. My nerves start to get to me as I pull a soda out of the fridge and open it. Does he think I did something to him? I take a quick sip, throw my cap on the table and wipe my brow once more before answering.
“What would you like to know?”
“I just wanted to get an idea if you had seen anything suspicious lately. I noticed you have the best looking roses in the neighborhood. I thought with you being outside a bit and next door to him, you may have caught a conversation of his.”
He does think I’m guilty!
“Detective, I can’t think of anything at the moment. He wasn’t the talkative type. We both kept to ourselves and didn’t talk much.”
I glance into Jones’ eyes for a brief second to catch the intense stare he has for me, then I answer him.
“He moved in about six months ago. We never really met until he had been living there for a couple months. I gave him soft waves after that, as he would walk his dog past my house, but we never really talked.”
Jones takes out a pad of paper from the pocket inside his blazer. He reads a few things to himself and responds.
“That’s not what your neighbor’s are telling me.”
“Oh really? What are they saying?”
“They are saying you both would get into yelling matches around midnight on a few occasions.”
“It’s that damn dog of his. He would let it out to pee and it would start barking at rabbits it could see in the distance. It became annoying and after the millionth time I ripped into him.”
Jones stares at me and says,
“You told him you would kill the dog if he didn’t do something about it?”
I start to chuckle for a moment, knowing full well I would never hurt the animal.
“Do you have kids detective?”
“Yes.”
“Have you told them you would kill them if they kept screaming in the car?”
Detective Jones starts to smile a bit, knowing full well I was right.
“It’s a moot point anyway detective. Ron took care of the situation.”
“So you do know his first name?”
“Of course, we did meet you know?”
Jones starts down another path.
“Did you hear anything about him going out of town recently?”
“Not a thing. I have noticed that he hasn’t been around lately, but that happened a few times. I heard he was a salesman. He would be gone for days, sometimes weeks at a time.”
Jones’ stare intensifies as I take a long sip of my soda. My heart starts beating faster. I keep sweating and take the towel and wipe my forehead with it. I swear he thinks I’m guilty! Jones walks closer to me and I almost lose control of my mind. Is he going to arrest me? He puts the notepad back into his pocket and hands me his business card.
“Let me know if you hear anything Mr. Wells.”
“I will detective.”
Jones walks to the front door. I slip my shoes on and follow him outside.
“You do have the prettiest rosebushes I have ever seen Mr. Wells. How do you get them to bloom this beautifully?”
“Thanks, you can call me Charlie, detective. It’s just the attention I give them. I’m a writer, so I have extra time to spend on them, unlike the nine to five Joe.”
Jones walks down the front walkway, back to his car across the way.
“Charlie, call me if you hear anything.”
“I will.”
He waves to me and I return the gesture and get back on my knees in front of the rosebush. I start throwing more topsoil down as I hear Jones’ car take off down the road. I wonder if he realized that I didn’t let my conscience speak for me. Does he really believe me when I said my extra attention helped my rosebushes? I start to chuckle.
What conscience?

This Grocery Sucks

Grocery-Store-Organic-Produce
I’m waiting in line at the grocery,
and some jerk cut in front of me.

They smile with a shit look,
“I only have a few items,
you don’t mind, do you?”

It actually is a few items,
and I let it go this time.
I am having a good day,
and I won’t let this jerk ruin it.

I finally get to the register.
The girl working it is so young,
and looks to still be in high school.
She has tats running up both arms.
“Pretty nice day, isn’t it?”
She looks at me and nods with approval.
She is letting her teenage, angsty arms
speak for her today.

I pay her and walk away,
wondering what parent
would allow that young of a daughter
get permanent tattoos.

As I walk out the door
I hear a kid tell his mom to,
“Fuck off.”
My mouth dropped.
I was waiting for the mom to
backhand him,
but she didn’t.
I shook my head,
knowing the ass-cracking
I would have received
if I would have said that
to one of my parents.

I finally get in my car
and shut the door.
I close my eyes and enjoy
the silence.
I take a deep breath,
knowing that I am alone
and it is quiet.
I start the car
and pull away.

The jerk that cut in front of me
in the grocery line,
just cut in front of me
getting out of the grocery
parking lot.

Now I understand why people go crazy
and shoot up a place like this.
I don’t agree with it,
but I sure as hell understand it.

The thing that sucks for me,
I have four more places to go
before I can head home.

©Copyright 2013 by Kurt Rees.
All rights reserved